Why 120/240 Volt 60hz (or 230 Volt 50hz) Generators Are Not Great Battery Chargers

January 13, 2015
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Using a 120 volt or 120/240 volt (or 230 volt) single phase generator to charge your batteries is very common, inexpensive to purchase and horribly expensive to operate. BUT you must expect to pay anywhere from $2.50 to $5.00 per kWh when using a single generator […]

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Our Steam Engine Videos | Steam Power is Awesome!

December 9, 2014

Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Below are some videos of our 8 horsepower (HP) at 500-600 RPM steam engine running for the first time in over 40 years. Since 2007, we had been looking for some type/brand/size/make/model? of steam engine to make into a serious battery charger in case of TEOTWAWKI […]

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Our Steam Engine / Battery Charger

December 8, 2014
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? We bought a stream engine in 2011 with the hopes of someday using it as a backup for charging batteries if gas and oil were ever to become in short supply. Our biggest problem has been to find a wood boiler that can produce enough steam […]

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Using Your Generator to Charge Your Batteries

September 28, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? There are going to be many times when the sun isn’t shining, the wind isn’t blowing and your batteries are low. The only choice you might have is to charge your batteries using your fossil fueled generator. As you may already know, there is not a […]

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How to Find the Defective Battery in Your Battery Bank

September 24, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? It only takes one bad battery to bring your off grid power system to a complete halt. Even in systems that have 8, 16, 24 or even more batteries, one defective battery can drain every good battery and leave you powerless. Unfortunately it is not always […]

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The Best Choices for Your First Solar Battery Bank

September 18, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? You will make a lot of mistakes in the beginning of your “off grid” adventures and your batteries will pay the price whether they are deluxe and expensive models or decent quality and cost effective. If your solar installer/designer tries to sell you a “high end” […]

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Are My Batteries Really Full? How Can I Be Sure?

September 5, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? You would think that knowing your batteries are completely charged is straightforward. However the state of charge a.k.a. SOC of your battery/battery bank it is not even close to being simple. This short article will explain why. Here are some of the common industry practices: BATTERY […]

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How to Choose a Dishwasher

July 14, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? You might be thinking…. Why is someone who lives off the grid (and an energy saving nut) talking about a dishwasher? The reality is that homesteaders and solar homesteaders don’t want to live like we are in the stone ages. Dishwashers, like clothes washers and refrigerators […]

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Dump Loads for Solar, Wind and Microhydro

May 2, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Dump loads a.k.a. diversion loads are are an important part of the off grid electric system. Almost all wind and water turbine installations will require them and most solar installations can benefit from a dump load. As we discussed in the dump load intro, a dump […]

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Solar Module Efficiency

April 25, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? As manufacturers improve their processes, solar module efficiency increases. But the real question is “Who cares?”. A solar module’s efficiency is stated in a % (percentage) of how much energy is captured per square meter of solar panel. The module on the right is considered high […]

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Skystream Automatic Disconnection

April 22, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Southwest Windpower’s Skystream can be used to charge batteries but a circuit must be present that will shut the turbine down as the batteries reach a full state of charge or a circuit to dump the extra power. If you could hire someone inexpensively to shut […]

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Add a Diversion Load to a SkyStream

April 18, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? There are a few methods to add a diversion load to your Skystream. The best methods are shown below (option #1 or option #2) but it assumes you either have a charge controller/ inverter with a programmable relay driver/output or you will purchase a diversion controller. […]

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Skystream Battery Charging How To

April 18, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? The Skystream made by Southwest Windpower is a grid tie wind turbine that is designed to produce 240 volts AC at 60HZ (or 50HZ)  no matter what speed the wind is blowing. It does this by taking the wild AC from the alternator, rectifying it to […]

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Dump Load / Diversion Load Intro

April 16, 2013
Solar doesn't NEED a load but it can be handy if your battery bank is full and you want to make some free hot water.

Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Since there is a lot of confusion about diversion loads, we will discuss what they are and why they are used. A dump load is nothing more than a resistor (heating element) that is used for dumping electricity when it is not needed or to prevent […]

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Using an Electric Heater as a Dump Load

April 12, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? A common question I get asked is “Can I use a standard 120/240 AC heating element or hot water heater element as a DC dump load for my wind turbine/water turbine/solar system?” (Wondering what a dump load is? Click here) (More advanced diversion load info for […]

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Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent (HE)

March 25, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe (HE) You should be able to make a full batch from start to finish in about 15 minutes. A full batch is good for about 40 loads so you should only have to make it once a month or so. It […]

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Choosing a Gas Range

March 19, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Most people would expect purchasing a gas range is straightforward. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Please Note: Do not buy an “off the shelf” gas range for your kitchen if you live off of the grid or use a generator to run your home. They […]

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How To Eliminate Phantom Loads

March 19, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Phantom loads are plaguing the world and are a huge problem for those of us living off the power grid. What is a phantom load? Everything possible must be done to eliminate phantom loads or at least reduce them. But how do we do that? The […]

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Make Your Water Filter Efficient

March 19, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? If you don’t have access to clean water in your off grid home, nothing else will matter. Some will be fortunate enough to have crystal clear and potable water directly from a spring or well but most of us will need some type of water filter […]

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How to Choose a Refrigerator

March 17, 2013
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Would you do us a huge favor by sharing? Your refrigerator could be the largest consumer of electricity in your off the grid home. Selecting the right one for you is less about aesthetics and more about size versus power usage. Less than two decades ago it made sense to purchase a propane refrigerator for […]

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